Coronavirus: "It was never our intention to rob the public:" Sheffield shop owner apologises over £9 hand sanitiser

The owner of a Sheffield market stall has apologised after selling bottles of hand sanitiser for £9 during the coronavirus crisis.

Saturday, 21st March 2020, 9:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 3:33 pm

DP Market News in Crystal Peaks Market came under fire after it was revealed that 300ml bottles of Carex hand gel were on sale for £9.

But after the backlash, shop owner Darren Smith has apologised, saying it was a mistake and has now removed the bottles from sale.

He said: “We have never sold the hand sanitiser before and were unaware of the retail price, therefore we took to the internet to gain some idea of retail price. In order to gain a fair retail price we compared prices over the internet.

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The shop was selling hand gel for £9.

“Therefore, £9 for 300ml seemed reasonable at the time and we thought we were helping those who couldn’t purchase the product. However after some complaints we realised we had made a mistake and therefore lowered the price to £7.50.

“It was never our intention to rob the public at all.

“We are sorry for this and the trouble it has caused. However, in light of the given circumstances we now feel it best to refuse to sell anymore of our stock whatsoever and will no longer be available to the general public. It will be best given free to those in need.”

Hand gel has become one of the most sought after products amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with bottles being sold online for hugely inflated prices.

Superdrug sells a 300ml bottle of Carex antibacterial hand gel for £3.49, and the £9 price tag at Crystal Peaks led some to accuse the seller of cashing in on the coronavirus outbreak.

One man commented: “Totally gobsmacked at the price from this stall in Crystal Peaks.”

Another said: “Absolute joke.... my youngest son has a heart defect (he’s high risk) and I cannot buy any hand sanitiser or handwashes anywhere and this stall owner thinks it’s acceptable to be selling hand sanitiser at thise prices.”

A picture of a sign announcing the cost went viral.